Cooking Instructions for your Fresh Local Turkey

Fresh Turkey Roasting and Brining Instructions

Tom Otto's Fresh Turkey Instructions    Print 



Roughly 15 minutes per pound

Preheat oven to 325. Roast turkey in a covered pan or a cooking bag for 1 hour. Reduce heat to 275. Continue roasting.

Check your turkey for "doneness" at least one hour before the calculated time is up. The internal temperature of your bird should be 165,

or when pierced with a fork, the juices should run clear.

You may uncover the turkey for the last 20 minutes to brown up the skin.

If your turkey gets done early, just shut off the oven and let it stand covered until you are ready to eat.


Roughly 20 minutes per pound

Be sure that the temperature of your stuffing is the same as the temperature of the turkey before stuffing it.

Preheat oven to 325. Roast turkey in covered pan or a cooking bag. You should not cook a stuffed turkey at less than 325. Check your turkey for "doneness" at least one hour before the calculated time is up.

The internal temperature of your bird should be 165, or when pierced with a fork, the juices run clear.


Preheat oven to 275. Reheat your smoked turkey in a covered pan or cooking bag for 2-3 hours, depending on its size. Put some kind of liquid (water, apple or orange juice, broth) in the pan or bag to help the turkey maintain its moistness

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Brining Instructions:   PRINT Brining and basic roasting instructions:

Brining Turkey

By:   Frances Crouter

Brining is the secret to a juicy, flavorful holiday turkey.

Brine is a mixture of water and salt; some recipes contain aromatic spices and sugar as well.

Why Brine?

Salt changes the structure of the muscle tissues in the meat, allowing it to swell and absorb water and flavorings. It also breaks down the proteins, resulting in a tender-seeming turkey. This means that--despite the moisture loss during roasting and the long cooking time--the end result is a juicier bird.

How to Brine

The main logistical problem with brining is that you need a container that's large enough to submerge your turkey in the brine, but will fit in your refrigerator. Furthermore, from a food safety standpoint, it should be stored on the lowest shelf of the refrigerator so that any spills won't contaminate food below. You may use a stock pot, a bucket, or a roasting pan; if you use a shallow roasting pan, you will need to turn the bird periodically so that each side rests in the brine. The basic ratio for turkey brine is two cups of kosher salt to two gallons of water. Some recipes include sweeteners or acidic ingredients to balance the saltiness. A food grade bucket or cooler with filled with ice packs also works.

  • Dissolve salt (and sugar, if using) in two cups of hot water. Stir in remaining gallon plus 3 1/2 quarts of cold water.

Remove giblets and neck from turkey. Immerse turkey in brine and refrigerate for at least eight hours but no longer than 24 hours. 

Cooking the Turkey

When you're ready to roast, pour off the brine. Rinse the turkey well with cool tap water, and pat dry with paper towels. Tuck the wing tips behind the back and place the bird, breast-side up, on a roasting rack. Proceed with your preferred recipe, but remember that the turkey has already absorbed a significant amount of salt--any drippings that you use for gravy will already be salty, and no salt should be added to compound butters or spice rubs.

For more brining information see

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